The Truth on How Facebook Tracks You

Social Media

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As we’ve been reporting lately, Facebook has been in talks with the Federal Trade Commission over user privacy and how public to make personal information. But until they come to an official resolution, there are other aspects of the social media site users should be aware of.

For example, have you ever wondered how Facebook tracks you across the web? If the answer is yes, you’re not alone.

As Byron Acohido writes in USA Today, “Facebook officials are now acknowledging that the social media giant has been able to create a running log of the web pages that each of its 800 million or so members has visited during the previous 90 days. Facebook also keeps close track of where millions more non-members of the social network go on the Web, after they visit a Facebook web page for any reason.”

According to Facebook’s engineering director Arturo Bejar, the site is relying on tracking cookie technology similar to what Google, Adobe, Microsoft, Yahoo! and others in the online ad game are using.

Nevertheless, Facebook has been making public statements about how it tracks users and how their approach is different from other companies who do the same thing. Mark Zuckerberg himself tried to convince Charlie Rose of this in a recent interview. But it seems that each time Facebook explains itself, more questions arise from technologists, privacy advocates, regulators, lawmakers and world governments.

Byron Acohido writes that Facebook is between a rock and a hard place at the moment, feeling pressure from all sides, “It must prove to its global financial backers that it is worthy of the hundreds of millions of dollars they’ve poured into the company, financial and tech industry analysts say. Those investors include Microsoft, Goldman Sachs, the Russian investment firm Digital Sky Technologies, Hong Kong financier Sir Ka-shing Li and venture capitalist Peter Andreas Thiel.”

If privacy advocates are successful, consumers will one day have the option to stop tech companies and advertising networks from following and recording their every online movement.

The question is, who will Facebook cater to more–the users who populate it or the investors and advertisers that make it profitable? Whatever the answer happens to be, Kiwi will be there to explain how it affects you and all of your Facebook friends.

In the meantime, here is the three-tiered approach Facebook uses to track you, courtesy of USA Today.

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Talk To Us! Did you know the extent to which Facebook tracks you across the web? How does it make you feel?

 

Image: Gawker.com

  • http://crybelovedcountry.com Cry, Beloved Country

    Did I know the extent. Nope. Do I like it? Nope. I already clear cookies at the end of every online session, but I’m going to stop leaving my FB account open (to check in on periodically) while I’m doing other things online!